Things got quite busy since my last post. We had a wave of guests come to Soriano, and the annual chestnut festival ( Sagra delle Castagne ) began, which really kept me running, camera in hand.
The folks in Soriano’s tourism office were kind enough to issue me an all-access press pass for all of the events, so I have tons of content (both video and photo) from the last few weeks that will take form in blog articles over the next few weeks.
So now that I am back in the US and getting over my jet lag, I’ll begin…
Soriano is, for the most part, divided into four districts (Contrade). When the chestnut festival begins, these districts compete in many events (Archers, Cavaliers, Parades, Medieval dinners, etc.). Additionally, each district brings a distinct group with a specific talent. For example, Soriano’s swordsmen are from the ‘Rocca’ district. The ‘Trinita’ district brings a group of heavily trained Flag Throwers.
To be completely honest, they never impressed me in the past. I always thought it was a total non-event. I mean, big deal, right? But I hadn’t seen the Flag Throwers from Soriano in years, and I was covering the festival, so I really should check it out. In fact, I actually considered if I wanted to waste my camera’s battery life on the event for fear that I might end up missing something interesting later into the evening.
The event was about to begin, and I took my place in the Piazza… thinking there must be something better to do. Then I heard the drums coming from Via Santa Maria (Trinita’s home street). Suddenly I saw a massive group of drummers, trumpeters, and flag throwers march into Piazza behind the Trinita Flag Carrier. Their costumes were breathtaking! Their choreography was mesmerizing! Even the drums were absolutely stunning! When the row of trumpets began to play, my jaw dropped in utter awe.
This was not the Flag Throwing group I remembered. In the past it was a small group of guys that put on a nice, but largely unspectacular performance. Wow, have they changed. Someone with great skill and vision has clearly taken over in this group. I would argue that it was the most spectacular event I saw during the festival. Maybe because my expectations were so low going in, or maybe they are just that great now.
Unfortunately, the video that accompanies this article doesn’t do them justice. It doesn’t even come close to capturing the grandeur of the group, nor does it reproduce even a fraction of the awesome sound they produce. Not knowing what to expect, my camera missed many of the best moments of the performance.
Next time I have an opportunity to film them, I will try to better convey how truly awesome this group was.